Another week and another Rhythm Through Diversity, a fun musical trivia section on Metronome Online, where we explore music and dance through the development of cultural and social etiquette, history, and background of people in diverse communities. The cultures around the world showcase many different musical forms and this week we will explore the fandango, a lively dance from Portugal and Spain.
The fandango can be traced back to 1705 where a fandango melody was noted in a manuscript called ‘Libro de differences cifras de guitarra’. The first mention of its performance dates back to 1720, in a work by Francisco de Leefadeal’s done in Seville. According to a legend the dance almost faced prohibition at the beginning of the 17th century. The authorities deemed it as a ‘godless dance’, but after a demonstration of a fandango by two famous dancers, the entire room of members of the Consistory joined in joyously to dance.
The authorities deemed fandango as a ‘godless dance’, but after a demonstration by two famous dancers, the entire room of members of the Consistory joined in joyously to dance.
Traditionally fandango is separated into sung and danced, while keeping the same metric characteristics. The dance can be found in tonadillas, zarzuelas, operas and ballets most commonly in Spain, but also in classical works such as Gluck’s Don Juan, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and many more. The fandango is a triple meter partner dance typically accompanied by castanets, hand-clapping (palmas) and guitars. It follows a typical I-IV-V progression with lyrics in octosyllabic verses.
There are many varieties of fandango found in Spain, Portugal and in Mexico. One of these is ‘fandango de huelva’, which we can see in this video.